Social Psychology Faculty, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia
Typical male and female roles and relationships can be observed at different social levels: intergroup, intragroup, interpersonal, intrapersonal. In adolescence, increased development of gender characteristics (gender identity, gender stereotypes, gender roles) appears at all levels. Since the leading activity at this age is interpersonal communication, research into gender characteristics and their influence on relations in the student group is one of the most important tasks of modern psychology.
One hundred and forty teenagers in grades 6-8 from secondary schools in Moscow, aged of 12–14, were involved in the research. Special social-psychological techniques were applied for assessment of status relations (sociometry, referentometry, methodology for defining the informal intragroup power structure) and gender characteristics (Bem Sex Role Inventory in classical and modified versions), as well as correlation and cluster analyses.
We found that representations about the group leader contained clear masculine features. We underline the discrepancy between the qualities attributed to the image of the leader and the qualities of the actual group leaders. Thus, the image of the leader includes predominantly masculine characteristics, while actual high-status group members describe themselves with both feminine and gender-neutral features. Finally gender-typed behavior and masculine traits are more typical of low-status teenagers.
Keywords: status group structure, gender identity, gender stereotypes, teenagers